Monday, February 22, 2016

Fit for a Swedish Princess

Though I've baked all sorts of pastries, cakes, cookies, and crazy complicated confections during my tenure in a pastry lab, I've always had a soft spot for Swedish princess cake. Of obvious European origin, this cake got its name from three princesses that loved the cake. A traditional Swedish Princess cake consists of airy sponge cake, pastry cream, a thick dome of whipped cream, and is covered in marzipan. There are many variations of this cake with slightly different fillings, and colored marzipan. In any case, this multi-layer sponge cake is fit for royalty.

The recipe that I used came from the Miette Bakery cookbook. This variation includes raspberry jam, and raspberry simple syrup to moisten the sponge cake. I started by cooking down raspberries with sugar to make a simple syrup. Most French cakes are doused in a 'soaking' syrup, or flavored simple syrup to help keep cakes from drying out. This was a trick I learned in the pastry lab, which allowed mass produced sponge to be frozen, thawed, and then rehydrated and used later.

Next up was the pastry cream, which needed time to chill to piping consistency. The combination of pastry cream and whipped cream provides a perfect balance; the filling is not too heavy, yet still satisfying. 

Though the recipe was for a larger cake, I decided to make individual sized princess cakes for sharing. I made a sheet of the sponge, and then cut out the base cake layers. 


Each layer was then brushed with simple syrup. The key to using simple syrup for soaking cakes, is that you want to use enough to provide a moist cake, but not too much that the cake falls apart. 

After soaking in simple syrup, the base layer is topped with a ring of pastry cream and filled with raspberry jam. The base layer is then topped with another layer of sponge cake.

After stacking the sponge layers, the cakes are topped with a dome of fresh whipped cream. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that process before topping each cake with a layer of green marzipan. I stabilized the whipped cream with some gelatin, which made topping with marzipan a little easier. With the extra marzipan, I made some decorative garnishes.

Princess cake is one of my favorites, and there are several bakeries around the Bay Area that make a good princess cake. In fact when I was getting married, I polled several bakeries and all but one refused to make a four tiered stacked princess wedding cake, due to the difficulty of stacking a whipped cream filled cake. However, where there is a will, there is a way. If you find yourself with a hankering for Swedish princess cake, but don't have that level of willpower, you can always pick up some decent cakes in the IKEA frozen food section.

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